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Assessment of the potential and actual exposure by way of inhalation as a result of soil pollution

Vaststelling van de potentiele en actuele inhalatoire blootstelling als gevolg van bodemverontreiniging


One of the possible exposure routes for humans to soil pollutants is inhalation of compounds that have volatilized from the soil or that have entered the air in a particle bound form. In this report a method is given to assess the possibility and the importance of this route of exposure in cases of soil pollution. The first part of the report consists of a questionnaire by means of which it is possible to assess the risk that a significant exposure exists. The information that is necessary to answer the questions will in most cases already be available or will be easy to obtain. Furthermore suggestions are given for the steps that could be taken, depending on the results of the questionnaire. In some cases a limited supplementary investigation of the groundwater is useful. In other cases, when houses are present on the polluted soil, an assessment of the indoor air quality can be necessary. Strategies are given for the design of these investigations and some remarks are made with regard to the evaluation of the results. In the second part of the report a model is given with which it is possible to calculate concentrations of pollutants in the indoor air on the basis of concentrations of these compounds in the soil. The basis of this model is the theory of partitioning of compounds in the soil and diffusion through the soil-air phase. Although this kind of modelling is widely used, it is subject to important limitations. These limitations are discussed in the second part of the report also.

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